Why It’s Okay to Not Be Okay About Having Children!
One question that every married couple dreads is the invasive and inappropriate “So, when are you giving us the good news?”. Not only do these questions begin immediately after you get married, but become the foremost fear of every childless couple (whether by choice or circumstances, both) in every familial and social gathering. Women especially, are expected to just naturally want children . Not wanting children somehow puts them under a lot of judgement, mostly stemming from misogynistic ideas and is often met with derision, disbelief, and at best, confusion.
Having children is seen as the next logical step after getting married. Hence, not wanting to have children becomes a puzzle that most people don’t seem to understand. If the thought of having a child makes you feel more uncomfortable than happy,
then read on for some food for thought about why it’s absolutely okay to not want to have children.
Not everyone derives value in Life out of Parenthood
It’s as simple as that. Some people do want to be parents. For whatever reasons, their love for children, their desire to rear a child and experience all that it comes with, or their desire to do a better job at parenting than their parents. Some others simply don’t see themselves becoming parents. It might be because of their already existing familial responsibilities. Not feeling that having a child will add in any way to their quality of life, or choosing their freedom to be able to make more spontaneous choices in their life and career.
All of these reasons are valid and sufficient to base this choice on. Couples who choose not to have children shouldn’t have to prove why they are right to make this choice. They have every right to live their life how they envision it, and maybe it just doesn’t envision children in it!
Children are expensive
With more of us taking longer to achieve financial stability having children is not an easy choice for most couples. Let’s face it, children are expensive. Starting from fertility treatments if needed (with PCOS and infertility issues due to high pressure lifestyles and changing ecosystem), to medical expenses through the pregnancy, to all the expenses of rearing and caring for a child and providing her/him with a good education etc in the super competitive and fast world we live in today, it all adds up to quite an amount. You will be paying for for the next 20-30 odd years of your life.
If you are not prepared for that kind of financial investment, it’s absolutely okay to not want to have a child at this point, or at any point.
Taking care of Children is a lifelong commitment
It’s a fact that once you are a parent, it becomes difficult to find time for yourself or for each other as a couple. So with everything else you are already doing, you have to be responsible for your kid’s care and well being too. With more of us living in nuclear families, this could mean a serious upgrade in terms of responsibility. And you have to be sure that you will be able to take up. Imagine being sick with a virus, and having to care for your ailing child while both you and your partner are barely able to get up. Or having to be mindful of sleeping too soundly every time for the next few years of your life, worrying about your child’s safety.
It’s true that people do these things ALL the time, but this is about you. And whether you think you would be okay doing these things in your life. If you don’t see you and your partner being these people, it’s absolutely fine.
When in doubt, Don’t do it!
Let’s consider for a moment, What’s the worst that could happen if you decide not to have children? You’ll feel guilty for not making this choice in time? You will feel sad when you are old and have no one to take care of you? You will feel like you don’t fit in with the rest of your peers with children? Let’s not even go into the counter arguments about how it’s not okay anyway to depend on your children to be taken care of in old age.
There is absolutely no guarantee that they will want to be around you when you are old, or take care of you, for that matter. Or even that you don’t owe having children to anyone, even you yourself! Let’s consider for a moment, what happens if you indeed feel guilty and sad for choosing not to have children?
Surviving these feelings will be easier than surviving a life with children that you are unhappy with and depressed about. A lot of couples wonder if they should have one because they aren’t sure. It seems like a really flawed logic. You do something not because you are not sure about not wanting to do it. You do it because you are sure about wanting to do it. And there you have your answer. When in doubt, better to regret not doing it than doing it and regretting it all your life!
Children are lovely, and they bring a lot of joy into our lives. But for some of us, pitching in raising our friends’ and family members’ children might be adequate to partake in this joy. It’s not selfish to not have children. It is selfish, however, to have children if you don’t want them, or if you are not ready.